PETALING JAYA: The East Malaysian state of Sabah is blessed with lush forests populated by various and distinctive creatures.
Nevertheless, the jungles of Sabah and their inhabitants have come below menace on account of extreme logging and human growth.
The injury executed is extreme, however it isn’t utterly undoable as a group from UKM Bangi have planted over 1,300 new timber within the Kinabatangan area below the Inexperienced Waqaf Initiative.
Whereas this can be a small step in recovering what has been misplaced, it has already produced optimistic outcomes.
FMT Way of life had the chance to talk with Danial Hakim Tsu, 28, one of many co-leaders main the environmental undertaking.
“We began this undertaking in June this 12 months,” he mentioned. “’Waqaf’ means endowment, and usually it refers to acts of charity for establishments like faculties,” he mentioned.
Inexperienced Waqaf is a spin on this idea, the place as a substitute of contributing to native establishments, individuals can as a substitute assist the setting.
With a minimal donation of RM35, mentioned Danial, a single tree could be planted of their identify in considered one of seven allotted areas.
So far, there have been over 160 public contributors and over 10 organisations who’ve contributed over RM85,000 to the trigger.
Aside from restoring misplaced forests, the Inexperienced Waqaf Initiative goals to preserve native endangered wildlife species.
“Have you ever ever heard of the Huge 5 of Borneo? These are 5 iconic species native to Borneo which are presently endangered,” he mentioned.
The 5 are the pygmy elephant, the proboscis monkey, the orangutan, the rhinoceros hornbill and in addition the estuarine crocodile.
Along with offering these creatures a supply of meals, Danial mentioned that restoring the forest additionally helps present them with shelter.
He cited the instance of the orangutan, who typically commute by way of the tree cover. “When there are bald spots within the forest, they should go all the way down to the forest flooring to succeed in the opposite facet.”
When on the bottom, nevertheless, orangutans are sometimes rendered weak to threats reminiscent of wild canine and wild boars. Therefore, by planting tree saplings, these bald spots can ultimately be lush forests as soon as once more the place orangutans can safely reside.
Moreover, mentioned Danial, the undertaking can also be offering the native Orang Sungai and Orang Kampung Sukau a supply of earnings.
Members of the group are employed by the undertaking to plant and look after the tree saplings, a few of that are fruit-bearing and may be harvested.
Whereas that is the primary environmentally-focused waqaf undertaking in Malaysia, Danial mentioned that the group truly acquired exterior inspiration.
“The Inexperienced Waqaf idea truly got here from Indonesia; they have been the primary ones to do it. So, we adopted the thought from them,” he mentioned.
Funnily sufficient, earlier than the undertaking was even conceived, Danial himself had by no means been to Sabah. Now that he has, he mentioned: “Sabah is breathtaking.”
Throughout the course of the undertaking, donors have been allowed to select considered one of three packages. Donors who gave RM35 have been allotted one tree, RM105 three timber and RM175 5 timber.
This one-time fee will cowl as much as 4 years of tree upkeep, and pay the wages of native caretakers.
Danial mentioned they’ve acquired some unusual requests, with one donor requesting they plant durian timber.
“No, donors can’t select the timber which are planted. The timber that we plant are chosen based mostly on the place they’re being planted and the realm’s climate,” he mentioned.
“So, if we’re planting a tree on the riverbank, we’ll choose one thing appropriate like a mangrove sapling as a substitute.”
When requested what challenges the Inexperienced Waqaf Initiative confronted, undertaking secretary, Erna Smith Epoi, 27, mentioned that Malaysians are hesitant relating to committing.
“They arrive with loads of questions. ‘Are you genuinely doing this?’ or ‘Are you gathering this only for the undertaking?’”
She doesn’t blame individuals’s sense of warning, given the variety of scams on the market, however it’s certainly laborious to achieve individuals’s belief.
“We inform them that it’s okay to donate to us and that they’ll observe us on social media as effectively. We’re very clear with what we’re doing.”
Nonetheless, Danial and the group stay hopeful of extra assist. “We’re residing in Malaysia and we’re all household. If Sabah grows, Malaysia grows too.”
Discover out extra in regards to the Inexperienced Waqaf Initiative here.